AT&T-Time Warner Merger Gets The Green Light From Federal Court

AT&T-Time Warner Merger Gets The Green Light From Federal Court

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson also said past year, "You shouldn't expect that we would sell something larger [than CNN] to get the deal done".

The merger, including debt, would be the fourth largest deal ever attempted in the global telecom, media and entertainment space, according to Thomson Reuters data.

AT&T and Time Warner are not competitors; theirs would be a "vertical integration" of complementary companies: Time Warner makes the TV shows (and movies and news programming and so forth), while AT&T offers the satellite and cable TV services and mobile phone systems on which people consume such content.

Judge Leon rejected the arguments and has not imposed any conditions on the buyout.

In denying any attempt by the government to seek a stay of his ruling during appeal, Leon said AT&T and Time Warner "understandably fear the government will now seek to do indirectly what it couldn't accomplish directly".

A federal judge is expected to rule on Tuesday on whether the $85 billion merger that was announced in October 2016 will go through. Attendees heard about the myriad of opportunities presented by the marriage of content and cutting-edge technology.

In a scathing opinion, he urged the US government not to seek a stay of his ruling, saying it would be "manifestly unjust" to do so and not likely to succeed.

A federal judge has approved AT&T's merger with Time Warner.

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The Justice Department, which had sued to block the purchase, has the option of appealing the decision. It may immediately trigger another deal between Comcast and Fox, which already has an agreement to sell its entertainment assets to Walt Disney.

Rival cable company Comcast is now likely to go ahead with its planned attempt to woo Fox away from Walt Disney Co, which said it would acquire most assets of the media company for around $50 billion past year.

"I conclude that the government has failed to meet its burden of proof", District Court Judge Richard Leon told the court. That's not to say that vertical mergers get through regulatory approval free and clear - the FTC has fought 22 vertical mergers since 2000 - but they receive less scrutiny than horizontal mergers.

Time Warner controls assets such as HBO, CNN and, most importantly, Warner Bros.

Some critics of President Trump have questioned whether the case was brought as political payback against Time Warner's CNN for unfavorable coverage of President Trump, who often called the cable news channel "fake news".

The DOJ has argued that this type of consolidation would give the merged AT&T-Time Warner the ability to raise prices, thwarting the competition's ability to compete by forcing them to raise prices to maintain carriage rights.

Because of AT&T's ownership of DirecTV, it can drive a harder bargain with other distributors that want Time Warner content, the government's lawyers argued during the trial. AT&T is known to most consumers as a telecom company, offering cable, internet and phone services, but this is just the latest in a line of mergers from such companies trying to break into the media landscape. "We strongly urge the Justice Department to appeal this decision all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary".